Oro Valley, Arizona

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I bought a new feeder. How long will it take for the birds to start using it?

Introducing a new feeder to your yard is an exciting thing. For you and the birds! But you have to give your feathered friends time to find the feeder, figure out that it's safe to use, discover the food inside and to tell all of their friends. They find their food by sight. This can take from a few minutes up to a month (aproximately). Basically, the old adage applies: "Build it and they will come."

Birds come in their own time.

I want to feed birds, but I don't want the mess from shells all over my yard. What should I do?

Our store has two types of 'no mess' seed. One is a blend of peanut pieces, sunflower chips and white millet, all hulled (without shells). The second type of 'no-mess' seed is sunflower chips. With either blend, there will be no shells to mess up your landscape.

I'd like to feed the birds, but I'm afraid of attracting other wildlife. What 'critters' do I have to worry about attracting?

Atrracting or not attracting other wildlife actually depends on how you feed. Let's focus on some of the animals you're most concerned with:

  • Packrats (White-throated Wood rat) - the key to preventing this common desert dweller is creating and maintaining a "buffer zone" around your feeding stations. Don't let them nest in the area! Remove low ground cover from the area if possible. Keep bushes and other plants trimmed so you can see the ground at the base of the plant. Don't scatter seed on the ground and attach a seed catch tray (see photo below) to prevent extra seed from falling on the ground.

  • Snakes - Contrary to what you may have heard, feeding the birds does NOT necessarily attract snakes. Snakes were here first and have established territories that they roam in search of food and mates. Snakes rarely travel more than a half a mile from where they were born. They are beneficial in keeping the rodent population down; and King Snakes eat Rattlesnakes. Again, feed the birds responsibly by not allowing too much seed to fall to the ground. But, understand that you live in a very active desert. Seeing a snake in your area does not mean your bird feeding drew him there.
  • Javelina - These large, hairy mammals forage, usually in packs (families), searching for their main food source, prickly pear cactus (2/3 of their diet). But, they will get into trash cans, gardens and into any other feeding opportunity. Do not feed them! They happen to love our quail blocks. If your yard is not fenced in, then make sure your quail blocks are at least 3-4 feet above the ground, on a wall, in a tree-nook or on one of our raised tray feeders.
  • Chupacabra - They eat meat, so don't worry about it.
  • Neighborhood or feral cats - make sure your feeders are placed in an open area where the birds will have a clear view of any possible predators. This way they will have enough time to flee from approaching cats.